When I was working we decided to have an “International Luncheon” to celebrate our work place multi cultural heritage.
Although there were only about 40 employees in our specialist risk section, most participated by bringing a dish, prepared at home and representative of their traditional cuisine. We were treated to dishes from India, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysian, Vietnam, Cambodia, Fiji, Latvia, England, Poland, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Chile, Malta and the Philippines. We also had good old Aussie Pies, with each dish identified by its flag. It was a very long enjoyable luncheon that enhanced relationships.
Sine we moved to Melbourne in 1983, we have largely found the city to be both welcoming and usually respectful of an individuals heritage. In fact the city is probably one of the most multi cultured in the world with citizens from 140 nations living in harmony together. This is the result of four main waves of migration, firstly the Europeans, then Chinese with the gold rush and more recently many from Vietnam, Cambodia, China, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, making up the largest source countries. But I do think there is a fundamental difference between Australia and say nations such as the USA, which to my mind engenders a culture of nationalism born from a deep sense of allegiance to one’s country. That's a feeling that's not so deeply rooted in Australian culture.
My question is “Is this realistic or appropriate for Australia ?” or are we better to follow the American model and embrace a common nationalistic purpose to represent all ethnic groups ?.
An extract of the opening gambit to our governmental policy , from the website is as follows: Australia is a culturally and linguistically diverse society and will remain so. Australia’s cultural diversity is a key part of our national identity. The government’s multicultural policy responds to this diversity, seeking to meet the challenges and maximise the benefits, for all Australians.
I would be interested to hear what people think? Can we have both ? Is there really a distinction?